Although eating organic is considered really healthy for your family and you, it can cost you lots of money to buy organic food (including fruits and vegetables) at the market or supermarket. Have you ever thought about starting to grow your own organic garden and don’t know where to start? Growing an organic garden is not as difficult as you think. In fact, you will find it fun and relaxing!
Besides, growing an organic garden is a good way to create a sustainable, earth-friendly ecosystem. So, follow these steps to start your first organic vegetable gardening.
Step 1: Consider a space with good light
The first thing when it comes to how to grow your first organic garden is the space available to you. As you might know, to grow to its full potential, your organic vegetable garden needs at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight each day. But you don’t really have to have a huge area to be a successful gardener. Simply find a sunny spot for a container or two on your doorstep or deck. Or you can also build a raised garden bed in the corner of your yard. The other important thing to consider as you’re starting out is how much time you have to care for your garden.
Tips for choosing your first ideal garden space:
- Sunlight – your plants will need at least 6-8 hours of sun per day
- Water source – find a location near a water source so you don’t have to transport water containers
- Visibility – you’ll be reminded to care of your garden if you can see it easily
Step 2: Think about vegetables you will grow
The most important thing to keep in mind when thinking about how to grow your first organic garden is what you and your family like to eat. Besides, you have to be realistic about your area and what plants work best in your region. To know what potential vegetables to the place you live, you can look at The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone. Choosing plants that are well adapted to the light, drainage, moisture, and soil quality of your area will help keep your garden healthy. It can also resist attack or disease, which is really important in organic and natural growth.
Here are some of the easiest plants to grow for those who have a limited time and space when growing their organic gardens:
- Tall snow peas and sugar snaps
- Pole beans
- Swiss chard
Step 3: Choose soil to grow carefully
The biggest determining factor of a successful organic garden is your soil. Good, nutrient-rich soil makes plants healthier and less susceptible to disease. To get your new garden off to a good start, it’s important to know your soil, and make sure it’s conditioned suitably, before you plant your first seeds.
As you might or might not know, one of the best ways to know your soil is to test it. You can buy a soil test kit online or at your local garden stores. This way, you will know your soil’s current pH level and what nutrients you need to add to the soil to ensure ultimate growth. The fall is considered the best time to test your soil. After finishing this step, you should apply any organic nutrients to the soil before winter.
Composted material is considered healthy and great for your organic garden. It will provide your vegetable garden with the most abundant organic nutrients that you can find naturally. This is a cheap and eco-friendly way to enrich your soil. And more importantly, it’s easy for beginners.
Besides, you can consider using raised garden beds. They might be a little bit expensive at first, but they will be easier for you to care for your garden in the long run. You can also control your soil and prevent contaminants better.
After getting all needed things, it’s time to start. Mix compost, manure, or other compost and organic fertilizer with your soil to create an ideal garden space. And now, it’s time for planting.
Note: Make sure your soil is not too wet for easier tilling.
Step 4: It’s Time to Get Your Garden Started
Plant wisely. Help your garden thrive as it matures by starting with vigorous, vibrant young plants that you can buy at local garden stores. Or, you can also grow your own seeds if you have them available at home.
Below are some of the most common veggies you can grow from seed right in your garden bed:
Depending on the area you live and the time of year, it may be better to incubate the seeds from the inside and then gradually transfer the healthy seedlings to your garden within 6-8 weeks. If you live in warmer climates, it is completely possible to sow the seeds directly into the ground in March or April.
Step 5: Start Planting Your First Vegetables
Some tools you will need in this step include a trowel, clippers, garden gloves and a watering can or a garden hose if your garden is near a water source.
The most important thing you need to remember when planting your vegetables is to know how to organize your garden. Ideally, organize it with taller plants to the north and shortest ones to the south. This way, tall vegetables will not “throw shade” the shorter ones. Learn more about gardening tips for beginners.
Then follow the instructions on your seed packet for further guidance on proper spacing guidelines for each vegetable, as they vary. Placing them with the right distance will help air circulate and flow well, helping to decrease the risk of fungus or other diseases. Avoid growing your plants too far apart because it can make weeds quickly take over.
Step 6: Water Properly
Because moisture is very important for good plant growth, make sure that you plan your watering properly. For those who don’t know, almost all organic vegetables need at least an inch of water per week (and even more when your place is too hot). Easy access to faucets and rainwater tanks is key to keep you free of dragging heavy watering cans and dragging garden hoses around. Remember to water right after you plant!
Step 7: Pull out as many weeds as you can
In fact, there are several easy ways you can do to help reduce your weed situation. The first way is to cover with a layer of mulch about 2 inches deep. If you apply it deeper than 2 inches, it can deprive the soil of oxygen. And the best time to weed is after a rain. This is the time when the soil is moist and the young grass is much easier to pull off than the grown ones.
Step 8: Protecting plants from harmful pesticides
You may have moisture, nutrient, or light problems that leave your plants weak and vulnerable to pests and diseases. After reviewing the overall care of your garden, start looking for signs of damage or symptoms of disease and note common damage features, be it spots or spots on leaves, discoloration or even waste left behind. Also, keep in mind that about 95% of the uninvited guests in your garden are harmless and possibly even helpful (beneficial insects), such as ladybugs, ground beetles, soldier beetles, wasps, bees, and butterflies.
To better control plant diseases or prevent diseases from starting, you can safely use organic products without harming yourself, your family, your pets, and also the environment. Lots of gardening enthusiasts are concerned about synthetic pesticides and their harmful effects on the vegetables and their health. So, they have turned to using organic pest control methods.
Step 9: It’s Time to Harvest
There’s nothing like the first harvest so you get the great feeling of knowing that your time in your organic vegetable garden has been well spent. If you plant well, your garden can even produce more vegetables and fruits than you think. If so, prepare cans and other storage methods, such as vacuum sealers and freezers. Many of your harvests will come at once, so to avoid waste, prepare ways to save or share with friends and family.
Step 10: It’s Time To Prepare For Next Season
When the fall is coming and the growing season ends, make sure that you clean your garden by taking off all weeds and diseased plants from the beds, roots and all. This is a great way to keep pests and diseases out of your plant growing space. More importantly, it gives you a head start on a clean, healthy planting space for next season.
So, that’s all about steps when it comes to how to grow your first organic garden. Here are some key things you should remember to have a healthy vegetable garden.
- Your garden needs full sun, at least 6-8 hours a day
- You can start small even with a limited space
- Prepare good soil
- Buy plants
- Water is very important
Of course, some steps might be a little bit different, depending on the climate where you live, but that’s all the basics.
If you have any questions about growing an organic garden, let me know below.